After beating Skyward Sword, I dug out my PS2 and plugged it up (as we say around my house) to my TV. I still have a list of PS2 games I want to play, the top game on it being Ratchet & Clank. I beat it rather quickly. Ratchet & Clank is doubly unfortunate for my timing in playing it, coming right after playing my game of the year by a wide margin and also after I’ve already played two of its superior sequels. Ratchet & Clank is still a good game, but it lacks some of the conveniences, like strafing, and flair of the later games in the series. It is hard to judge it too harshly for not including its sequels improvements, especially since Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal are two of the very best games on the PS2. Despite its shortcomings, Ratchet & Clank is still a very good game.
The series didn’t change greatly in either of its next two sequels. You still play as furry alien Ratchet and his robotic backpack/sidekick Clank. You still fly around the galaxy doing good. And you still collect a variety of inventive and destructive weapons with which to blow up everything. While the focus shifts from platforming in the early games to shooting later on, the fundamentals have remained largely the same. The biggest change is the addition of strafing, which any part of this game that requires shooting sorely lacks.
The weapon selection is sadly rudimentary. There are some interesting toys, like the attack drones, for the most part the weapon selection is bland. Had I played R&C before its sequels, I doubt I would have been disappointed in the selection but it pales in comparison to the later games.
That is the big problem with R&C. Playing it now, nearly ten years after its release, it suffers from being improved upon by its subsequent games in the series. Much like Mega Man 1, the first Ratchet & Clank provided a solid foundation for future great games. The R&C series is probably the closest thing in 3D to the original series Mega Man games (I love Legends, but its something else entirely) so it is an apt comparison. Though I would say R&C is much closer in quality to its sequels than MM1 was. If you’ve already played the later games, then there isn’t any real reason to go back, but if you are new to the series you might as well start here.